Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Thought for the day

A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.

Richard Bach

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Twin horns

If I write 1000 words a day that's fine, but then I don't have any time to work on the 1000 words I have written the day before. Nor the many thousands of words I have already written, that need revising (or ditching). Then when do I write the emails, cook the meals, update the websites, enter the competitions, contact the agents, sell the poetry books, oh, and work for the 40 hours a week that puts a roof over our heads?

Not the twin horns of a dilemma, but the Gorgon's hair of one: roll on retirement!

Drawing in

We adapt quickly in England. There wasn't much of a summer (but hey - April was lovely!) and now there are night frosts, and the days are hardly awake before the light fades and evening draws in. So, we are preparing for winter, and the supermarket shelves fill with Halloween effects, and shelves beyond those even with Christmas gifts, plum-coloured wrappings with gold and silver labelling. There is a fashion in decoration all right, and this year's colours are rich and welcoming. Batten down the hatches and wait for next April's renaissance. There are a few hard months ahead.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Escalators can take you up, or down.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Missing a Moron

This is the kind of story I like: Bears eat man at Beer Festival. As the late great Bill Hicks would say: 'Whoopee, we're missing a moron!'

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

On publication

It isn't until the searchlight of your efforts goes out, in the form of a book or collection, that the temperature of reception can be gauged. Then shadows, like infra-red images of yourself, come reflected back in the opinions of others, but most importantly in their likes and dislikes, of your work.

Prepare for disappointment or joy.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Getting known

The hardest thing, getting known. I have a product, viz. book of poetry. Poetry! People throw up their hands in horror. Poetry...yes, that function of the higher brain, tool of the depressed and sorrowful, is it still being written?

"I mean, I know it still is being written, and when we read it we find it so comforting, except for that modern stuff that doesn't rhyme and oh yes Betjeman knew how to keep an audience trundling along. So easy on the ear, even Philip Larkin his natural successor chucked the odd rhyme in to keep us happy."

My poetry does rhyme. It is just that the rhymes are not that easy to pick up. They don't always come at the end of each line. Sorry, but it's the difference between a cryptic crossword and an easy one. It all comes down to time, and effort; what we get from poetry is inextricably linked with what energy we want to put into (understanding) it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Signs is here!

OK, it's not good grammar, but the book is Signs and it is available now!

A coughing, spluttering fit.
A nervous, high laugh.
Sign of spring - bird song;
sign of winter - long scarf
wrapped around the throat.
A sharp frost, a dull pain;
there are signs of life in me,
signs of death too, age
creeps up, as winter does
then leaves, as life should do
by transition, not by this sudden
snatch of death, the soul away
the body cold, the crocus old;
end of the short, short day.

Signs (68pp, ISBN 978-1-84549-178-9), price £6.99 (US $12.95) is available online from arima publishing, Amazon, or download an order form

Friday, March 09, 2007

All publicity is good

Nothing like 'losing' a manuscript to get a bit of publicity.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Poetry and an Eclipse

Watched the eclipse of the moon on Saturday night. Skies cleared over Suffolk and the shadow of the Earth moved slowly over the moon. Tried to get the kids interested - they did watch but it was only an excuse to stay up late! It only turned a bit red (perhaps I went to bed too early) and I had to explain the mechanism to my daughter. I should have pointed her here, as my attempts to explain about the refraction of light were confusing at the least.

On another note, have received the designs for the cover of my poetry book, Signs, from the publishers. This is a print on demand collaboration with a local firm, Arima. It will be out by the summer, if I can stop fiddling with the poems. I am very pleased with the cover, type design and hope I can match their quality with my marketing skills.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Dark matter

It is a fascinating concept: a century old model of the universe and its origins is all in place, except that it requires something that doesn't exist - dark matter.
We all know that most of the universe is space. Atoms are full of it (or rather, empty of it) and since atoms compose everything, we are space. Held together with electromagnetic energy.

Yet something must give the universe most of its mass, in order to fulfil fundamental laws of physics. This is predicted to be dark matter, and in the 1960s a British physicist, Peter Higgs, predicted the existence of a particle thought to give all other particles their mass. The particle has one of those enigmatic, scientific names, the Higgs boson.

If the Higgs exists, it would fill a worrying gap in the standard model, the notional structure for describing the fundamental nature of matter. But if the Higgs doesn't exist...it will be back to the drawing board.

A recent article in New Scientist gives more information on current research, including a tantalising glimpse of the future as a result of recent experiments:

If the blips in the debris of the Tevatron particle smasher really are signs of the Higgs boson then it's not what we expected. It might mean that it's time to replace the standard model with a more complex picture of the universe.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Poetry Podcast the First

I have downloaded a podcast of a poetry reading by Lyn Hejinian, part of the Poem Present series at The University of Chicago.

Will let you know how it goes (on for 45 minutes).

Waterstones and New Technology

Book retailers must ready themselves for a similar digital revolution to that experienced by music retailers, said Waterstone’s managing director Gerry Johnson.

He told delegates at the Retail Week Conference that “People have strong perceptions of what a bookshop should look like. We have got slightly out of step with what consumers expect.”

He said that as consumers get used to books and content being delivered digitally, its stores must change in response. He believes that a tipping point will occur with the introduction of a multi-use digital device that drives the take up of digital books. “For anyone dealing with entertainment products, the pace of change is extraordinary. We have only got to refer to the music business to know that there will be a tipping point and [once it happens] the market will change beyond recognition within six months.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Eye's eye view


Trip to London last week - to the Eye. First time back for a long while, this time as Tourist (and showing my children the sights). Impressive prices - here's the view to complete the picture (or the pictures to complete the view:

Do I feel at home in London anymore? No. Do I feel comfortable, yes, that's all to do with the past, memories of growing up and a familiarity with its history. The ghosts of Blake and Shakespeare may stalk the streets, but their bodies would have preferred, as mine does, a quieter life away from the turmoil, to live and breathe. He who is tired of London is - just tired of London.